The Skarsgård are a large clan of actors in Sweden and are on their way to becoming a successful dynasty in America. Stellan Skarsgård, who premieres the film ‘Hope’ in Spain, has eight children and four are actors; Alexander, star of ‘True Blood’. His younger brother, Bill, the evil clown Pennywise from ‘It’. Gustaf, who we saw in ‘Vikings’. And Valter, who has just started in Scandinavian cinema. Patriarch Stellan (Gothenburg, 69 years old) has been acting since the age of 20 in films such as ‘The Hunt for Red October’, ‘Mamma Mia’ or ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’. This week presents ‘Hope’, by the Norwegian director Maria Sødahl, a film that represents Norway at the Oscars and tells its autobiographical story. When the protagonist discovers she has a brain tumor and only has months to live, her partner, played by Skarsgård, must overcome the boredom that has infected their once vibrant relationship.
-Did you experience the director’s illness?
-Yes. I have made five films with her husband Hans Petter Moland as a director, because he is one of my best friends. It was not about telling her own story, but her love relationship.
-The plot portrays the love story of a woman with terminal cancer.
-‘Hope ‘is the romance between her and her husband after he was diagnosed with his terminal illness. Maria Sødahl calls the film her most autobiographical work, because nine years ago she was diagnosed with cancer and the doctors gave her three months to live.
-You say you were moved when she asked you to participate in the film …
-I was very excited when he called me. I knew what had happened and as an actor I can enter the narrative coldly looking for the human aspect, the defects and virtues of the characters. Maria managed to capture an experience that was, at the same time, tragic and comical.
-Do you think that love helped her to heal?
-The film is about what love does to you when you have little time to live. This is the story of a week in the life of a woman, when her relationship with her husband stopped being what it was. A life together is summed up in a week.
-Sødahl’s character is played by actress Andrea Bræin Hovig. How did you create the intimacy of some characters that represented the director and her husband?
-We both talked about it; about their relationship and closeness to us, so we were careful to distinguish who they were in reality and who they were in fiction. We interpret their story, not them. I looked at Andrea as my partner and the director as what she was, the person in charge of filming.
– Are you worried about death?
-Not at all. Life is a lottery that I try to live intensely. I am not a fatalist, nor do I worry about what might create fear in advance. I guess I’m not afraid of death because I’m not religious. I don’t believe in the devil or in hell.
-The mother of his children suffered from cancer. Did it influence your decision to shoot this movie?
-Each one must face the disease from their experience and perspective. Those who survive this type of tumor are so few that they are not even counted in the statistics. Maria was cured and it is almost a miracle.
-Last year you won a Golden Globe for your role in the series ‘Chernobyl’. Are you still excited about the awards?
-From the first to the last. The actors are very insecure animals and winning prizes always makes us happy.
-Do you enjoy the fame you have achieved?
-I get bored. It is easier for me to walk in Sweden than in the United States. There everyone asks me for a selfie. In Sweden I can continue riding the metro.
-Have you thought about moving to the United States?
-No. There are a lot of great things in America, and half of Americans are pretty sane. But it is difficult to accept a system in which Republicans with a certain academic level dare to say: free health care is socialism. I would be ashamed if I was an American.
-Are you proud that your children are actors?
-Yes. I am very happy because no one has taken off their Skarsgård.